Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

No Smoking Day

Wednesday 11th March is No Smoking Day.

The No Smoking Day web site offers access to materials to promote smoking cessation. Those working within the NHS can use these materials for health promotion purposes. The main focus of the materials this year appears to be the financial benefits of quitting smoking.

A person who smokes 20 cigarettes a day would gain around £40 each week, or £2,000 in a year, to spend on other things.

Action: Clinicians should be aware of these materials and use them to support local smoking cessation campaigns.

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Script charge increase

The Department of Health has announced the NHS prescriptions charges will increase by 10p to £7.20 per item with effect from 1st April 2009.

The public health minister has noted that 89% of prescription charges in England are dispensed for free. It is also acknowledged that the remaining prescriptions, where charges are levied, provide valuable income for the NHS.

Action: All clinicians should be aware of the current prescription charging arrangements.

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Drug Safety Update - March 2009

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has published Drug Safety Update for March 2009 (PDF).

This issue contains a hot topic about the public perception of herbal medicines, a yellow card update that focusses on the rare adverse drug reaction of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) and drug safety updates in the following areas:

  • Methylphenidate: updated guidance on safe and effective use in ADHD
  • Atomoxetine: risk of psychotic or manic symptoms
  • Antipsychotics: use in elderly patients with dementia
  • Exenatide (Byetta): risk of severe pancreatitis and renal failure
  • Bisphosphonates: atypical stress fractures

Action: Clinicians will find this publication to be a useful review of current issues in drug safety.

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March CKS Update

Clinical Knowledge Summaries (CKS) has been updated in March 2009 for the following clinical areas:

Action: Clinicians who see patients with any of these conditions may find the new and updated information useful when reviewing current clinical practice.

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